Megababe founder, body acceptance advocate and author Katie Sturino on how she uses her platform to get candid about all theose things people avoid talking about–like money. As-Told-to by Emily Silber
Boob sweat, chafing, Money. What do these three things have in common? No one wants to talk about them. Why? They’ve been told that they shouldn’t. That these things are private and should remain private. Well, I’m here to shatter that notion.
I come from a fiscally conservative family. So when, as a 22-year-old, I decided to move to New York City from Wisconsin to pursue an internship, all hell broke loose. My risk-averse parents thought I was going to get swndled. But I made it to the great NYC, interned at Chanel for two summers and realized how much I love clothes. And accessories. and luxury. But …I didn’t really like the elitist vibe. That level of fashion can be very intense. Plus, I could never fit into the designer clothes (or afford them).
So in 2015 I launched The 12ish Style, now KatieSturino.com, a platform dedicated to helping women get dressed–and helping them feel confident while doing so. I have two main series, “Supersize the Look” and “Make My Size.” The first is when I take a celebrity look and recreate it in my size, which, in ccase you were wondering, is somewhere in the 16-20 zone, depening on the day. I wan to show women that they can pull off the styles they love no atter what size they are. The second is when I try on the biggest size a brand offers just to shed light on how small it is on me–this also led to a #MakeMySiz campaign. And some brands have actually listened.
Through my platform, I learned a lot about the things that make people feel uncomfortable. I guess you could say that I have no “filter,” so when I started talking about smelly armpits and butt acne, people responded. People understood. But the market? At first, not so much. Sure, there’s anti-chafin creams for athletes who cycle a hundred miles per day, but for your regular, everyday woman just trying to wear a dress or skirt without leggings or tights? Nope. Because obviously women don’t chafe. We don’t sweat. We don’t smell. We’re just magical unicorn Santa Clauses without any bodily functions whatsoever.
Sorry, but that’s just not true. So, I decided to start my own beauty brand, Megababe, with products like Thigh Rescue and Bust Dust and Le Tush Butt Mask. No beauty companies were addressing these needs because nobody was talking about those needs. And I wanted to see if I was right. Spoiler alert:I was. The products almost instantly had a waitlist and sold out when we launched.
Of course, without the kind of moeny major beauty companies have when they launch their brands, I had to bootstrap all the way. I called in favors with friends and even had my parents shipping orders from the basement of their house! But it was worth it. Women were responding. They felt seen. Tehy finally had a representative–a company that would acknowledge taht these “taboos” are actually not taboos at all.
All this was also a personal journey. I accepted my body and all its awesomeness and realized that I’m ot afraid anymore. I also realized that I have special skill for talkig about things that other people are shy about; that I could let light into those dark places ad allow people to feel less alone. That epiphany led me to start my podcast Boob Sweat–on which I tackle topics like divorce, fertility, dating when you’re older, dating when you’re plus size and, of course, money–and later to write my book, Body Talk, which is a guide to self-acceptance.
Women have been made to believe that money should be associated with secrecy, jealousy, and shame. But these are all jsut myths we’ve been fed to keep us in a certain place. As log as we’re not oney curious or power curious, we’re accepted. We should think about our weight, our looks, the scale. As long as we’re kept over there, in the corner, we’re not involved in what’s going on over here, where the real issues are.
I say, let’s talk about money. Let’s talk about success. Let’s talk about bodily functions and fluids and feelings and finances.